UPS Flight Forward executes first ever revenue-generating drone deliveries

By Rachelle Harry

UPS Flight Forward, a subsidiary of UPS, has announced the successful completion revenue-generating drone deliveries, which transported prescribed medicines from a pharmacy directly to two customers’ homes.

UPS Flight Forward partnered with CVS Pharmacy to carry out the pioneering deliveries.

Both flights took place on November 1, using the M2 drone by UPS partner and drone systems developer Matternet.

The flights launched from a CVS Pharmacy store in Cary, North Carolina, and delivered packages at two CVS customers’ homes.

The drones flew autonomously, but were monitored by a remote operator who could intervene if necessary. When dispatching, the drones hovered 20 ft over the properties and slowly lowered the packages with a cable and a winch to the ground.

UPS Flight Forward and CVS Pharmacy are now planning to develop a drone delivery programme to bring to market the speed and convenience advantages that drones are capable of providing.

Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer, commented: “We’re delighted to build new services that will shatter preconceived notions of how, when and where goods can be delivered.

“We now have an opportunity to offer different drone delivery solutions, tailored to meet customer needs for speed and convenience.

“Delivering prescriptions by drone directly to homes could greatly improve the patient experience for CVS customers.”

Kevin Hourican, president of CVS Pharmacy, added: “This drone delivery, the first of its kind in the industry, demonstrates what’s possible for our customers who can’t easily make it into our stores.

“We see big potential in drone delivery in rural communities where life-saving medications are needed and consumers at times cannot conveniently access one of our stores.”

In September, UPS Flight Forward became the first company to be receive approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate a drone airline under Part 135 Standard certification.

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